Two of the best teams in the NBA, the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers finished second and third respectively in the loaded Western Conference. Meeting up in the second round of the NBA Playoffs, the Nuggets and Blazers are no strangers to one another, having locked horns four times already in the regular season.
The Nuggets steamrolled competition for the vast majority of the season en route to their stellar 54-28 record. Behind the strong play of fringe MVP candidate Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets run a dynamic offense that surrounds Jokic with a number of athletic sharpshooters. Adept at making smart reads and flashy passes out of the post, much of the offense revolves around getting the ball to Jokic in the paint and letting him either go to work or find an open man.
The Blazers finished just behind the Nuggets, clocking in with a 53-29 record on the season. Despite losing big man Jusuf Nurkic, the Blazers have continued their strong play into the playoffs. Damian Lillard is the heart and soul of the Blazers and has willed the Blazers forward in the absence of their rapidly improving big man. Lillard still has some help in CJ McCollum, however, he has had to shoulder a much heavier load in the playoffs without his reliable outlet down low.
Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trail Blazers Season Series: Who Won Regular-Season Matchups?
Denver dominated the Blazers in the regular season, going 3-1 in the season series. However, the first two games (both Denver wins) were decided by a combined four points and the teams split the remaining two games. In fact, despite going 3-1, the Nuggets only had a +6 differential on the year against the Blazers – a testament to how close these two teams played one another.
With the playoff series split at an even one game each heading into game three in Portland, the numbers back up the theory that this should be a very tightly contested affair moving forward.
Portland Trail Blazers vs Denver Nuggets All-Time Head to Head Record
All-time, the Blazers hold a 98-82 head to head lead against the Nuggets. While the all-time head to head series has remained fairly close throughout history, the Blazers had a dominant run during the 1990s where they gained a significant lead over the Nuggets. Going 30-9 over the Nuggets across the decade, the Blazers built up a head to head lead that they still have yet to relinquish.
The winning run over the Nuggets coincided with one of the winningest periods in Trail Blazers history. Despite not taking home a championship, the Blazers twice played in the finals and made the playoffs every single year during the 1990s.